November 17, 2008



FROM The Japan Times Online
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008

Interpreter certification group decides to fold
Kyodo News

The Japan Interpreters' Association, a private company that teaches and certifies conference interpreters, has shut down and canceled several examinations nationwide because it was unable to get financial aid.

In a Web site posting dated Tuesday, the company said it "has been forced to close down as it could not receive necessary financial assistance amid the latest economic recession" and has been forced to stop offering tests to certify conference interpreters and good-will interpreters who can speak Japanese, English and Chinese.

A similar note was posted at its office in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Phone calls to the association went unanswered.

A 23-year-old Chinese woman who was planning to take the exam Sunday said she was angry because she needed certification to help get a job.

She said she paid a fee of ¥11,000 on Oct. 14 to take the exam and is growing concerned because she did not receive an exam participation slip. She said she received a postcard Thursday notifying her that the group had closed.

An official of a vocational school, one of the venues for the exam in Tokyo, expressed concern Saturday.

"We don't know what was going on inside (the association), but even if one passes, it is not an official certification and it is just a certification by the association only. It appears the market for such certification isn't so big."

About 390 people were going to take the exam at the school Sunday until it received a notice Friday by express mail saying the association would likely cancel its rental contract for the venue.

According to the association's Web site, certification exams for conference, good-will interpreters and business communication scheduled Nov. 9, Dec. 14 and Feb. 1 in Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka and Naha — will be canceled.

The association said it will make sure exam fees "will not be wasted," and is hoping to announce contact information on the matter later this month. The exam fees ranged from ¥4,000 to ¥17,000 per exam.

The association is a stock company and was founded in 1973. Around 130,000 people sat the exams, including the Conference Interpreter Licensing Examination and the Good-Will Interpreter Proficiency Examination — and around 38,000 have passed.

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